Monday, April 21, 2008

What's up with those Squash Association Logos?

If you're a squash fan in Canada who regularly surfs the web for info on Canadian squash then you've seen this mismash of logos before. The eleven logos here represent the various provincial, and territorial, associations that exist in Canada to serve the squash players of their regions. (Ed. Note: : The "mismash" below was taken from Squash Canada's "Links" page today so blame them if the logos are outdated:)

Why is this important? I think it's important because these logos are a reflection of the state of our game. We all say that we want to be recognized as a vital and integral game - Olympic worthy even - but we also have to say it off the court too and our marketing speaks volumes!

So what do we make of this group? How do we decide which ones work and which ones don't? There is a lot of discussion in the design industry on just what makes an effective logo but in the fifteen years I have been in the business I've come up with my own checklist.

1. Concept: The logo should visually represent what the company, or association, does or is involved in. (Half points for racquets, balls and "whoosh" lines but only if you were the first, second, or even third, association to do it.)

2. Distinctiveness: The logo should be unique and recognizable. Think "Nike". (Hmmm, let's rethink the racquets, balls and "whoosh" lines.)

3. Execution: Even a great concept needs to be put together properly. It shouldn't look like you did it yourself. (I'm assuming you're not a designer but a squash pro:)

4. Memorability: When you see a successful logo you will remember it. Easy as that.

So with this simple checklist in mind have another look at YOUR association's logo.

(Ed. Note: Squash Yukon has recently updated their logo and no longer uses the racquet with the rooster or whatever that is. Squash Newfoundland put a dog - guess which one - on a racquet but their site is down. Nunavut, which officially separated from NWT in 1999 is still not online so we have no idea what their logo will look like. )

I'm not sure I want to critique all the logos above, or if it's even necessary, but I think it might be helpful to point out a few things. Firstly, have you noticed how dated some of the fonts used are? I'm thinking specifically of Manitoba, Newfoundland and Saskatchewan. And speaking of dating yourself, PEI, Quebec and Manitoba apparently still use the single yellow dot. What can you say about Squash Ontario's logo: "Come for the squash and stay for the fly fishing."

And what can you say about Squash BC's logo that they haven't heard before (mostly from me)? The dated font, the two heavy black lines (representing our glorious mountains?) and the red maple leaf as an after thought. If change is so scary then I suggest they start using their old logo again - the one on the left - the one with the "whoosh" lines and the single yellow dot:)

(Ed. Note: What do you think? Have your say in our weekly poll up there on the right.)

So, with all that said here is my pick for Best In Show: NWT! Yep. Even though the execution is poor (and that just might be because of the passing back and forth of JPEGs from website to website) I love the concept: I know that this association is talking about "Squash in the Arctic" and, if you visit their website, you'll see the concept taken further with a whimsical (did I just use that word?) illustration of two polar bears playing squash in an igloo. Brilliant!

And my least favourite of this group? Hands down: New Brunswick. Wow. I would love to redesign this one: Let me know if I can help.

(Oh, and it's not just Canadian squash logos that I have issues with either. Have a look at the US Squash Association logo and tell me that it isn't in desperate need of an overhaul.)

Yep. A round headed racquet you say?

Next week: "How to be a Squash Ambassador."

1 comment:

Shawn Patton said...

Great post Pacey, refreshing to read someone asking questions and looking at our sport with an eye to improve, not be satisfied with what is comfortable and familar....and doing it with humour and personality. I still think you are looking for some revenge on the court, bring it on.